Elizabeth Franz

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Elizabeth Franz
Born Betty Jean Frankovich
(1941-06-18) June 18, 1941 (age 75)
Akron, Ohio
Years active 1981–present
Spouse(s) Edward Binns (1984-1990; his death)

Elizabeth Franz (born June 18, 1941) is an American stage and television actress.

Life and career[edit]

Franz was born Betty Jean Frankovich in Akron, Ohio, the daughter of a factory worker.[1][2]

On the stage, Franz has won a Tony Award, for her role as Linda Loman in the 1999 production of Death of a Salesman, which also earned her nominations for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards, and she won Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award, Boston's Elliot Norton Award, and Los Angeles' Ovation Award for a tour of the same production. She has also won an Obie Award and Drama Desk nomination for her role in the 1980 Off-Broadway production Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You and the Lucille Lortel Award for the 2007 production of Julia Cho's The Piano Teacher at the Vineyard Theatre in New York. Franz has also been nominated two other times for a Tony Award, for 1983's Brighton Beach Memoirs and 2002's Morning's at Seven, for which she also received Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations. In 2004 and 2005, Franz appeared at the Royal National Theatre in London, in the Sam Shepard play Buried Child. She has starred in numerous Off-Broadway and regional theater productions, including the world premiere of Kelly Masterson's Against the Rising Sea, the American premiere of Frank McGuinness's Bird Sanctuary, Long Day's Journey into Night with Sam Waterston, Autumn Garden, The Glass Menagerie, The Cripple of Inishman, The Comedy of Errors, Minutes from the Blue Route, Madwoman of Chaillot, Lion in Winter, A View from the Bridge, The Matchmaker, The Wizard of Oz, Great Expectations, The Model Apartment, and Woman in Mind. In 2003 she received the Dramatist Guild Fund's Lifetime Achievement in the Theater award.

On television, Franz is most notably a character actor. She became best known for her role as the villainess Alma Rudder on the soap opera Another World, which she portrayed from 1982 to 1983, while she was performing Brighton Beach Memoirs on Broadway. She also played the role of Helen Wendall on As the World Turns from 1994 to 1995, and guest-starred in several episodes of Roseanne, as free-spirited beauty salon owner Marsha. She also made guest appearances in the series Gilmore Girls, as the inn owner, Mia, and in Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Cold Case, Dear John and Judging Amy. She was nominated for an Emmy Award and a SAG Award for the Showtime production of Death of a Salesman and got another Emmy nomination for the TV movie A Town's Revenge. Other TV movies include A Girl Thing, An Unexpected Love, The Rise and Rise of Daniel Rocket, Dottie, Love and Other Sorrows, and House of Mirth.

In the movies Franz has appeared in the remake of Sabrina, Christmas with the Kranks, The Substance of Fire, The Pallbearer, Stephen King’s Thinner, Fish in a Bathtub, The Secret of My Success, School Ties and Jacknife. In 2005 Franz won the Best Actress Award from the NYC Home Film Festival for her appearance in a short film The Reader.



Year Title Role Notes
1981 The House of Mirth Grace Stepney Television movie
1987 The Secret of My Success Grace Foster
1989 Jacknife Pru Buckman
1992 School Ties Jane Dillon
1993 It's Nothing Personal Unknown
1995 Sabrina Joanna
1996 The Pallbearer Aunt Lucille
1996 The Substance of Fire Miss Barzakian
1996 Thinner Leda Rossington
1996 Twisted Mrs. Bundrass
1999 A Fish in the Bathtub Bea Greenberg
2000 Death of a Salesman Linda Loman Television movie
2004 Christmas with the Kranks Bev Scheel


Year Title Role Notes
1982 American Playhouse Doctor Episode: "Pilgrim, Farewell"
1982 Another World Alma Rudder Episode: "July 30, 1982"
1985 Spenser: For Hire Mrs. O'Rourke Episode: "Original Sin"
1986 American Playhouse Mrs. Rice Episode: "The Rise and Rise and Daniel Rocket"
1987 The Equalizer Mrs. Thomas 2 episodes
1987 American Playhouse Dottie McCann Episode: "Dottie"
1989 ABC Afterschool Special Cecile Nelson Episode: "A Town's Revenge"
1989 American Playhouse Unknown Episode: "Love and Other Stories"
1990 Roseanne Marsha 3 episodes
1994-1995 Sisters Gladys Lear 2 episodes
1995 ABC Afterschool Special Alice Kelly Episode: "Notes for My Daughter"
2000-2001 Judging Amy Vivian Galloway 2 episodes
2001 Gilmore Girls Mia Episode: "The Ins and Outs of Inns"
2003 Cold Case Evelyn Shelby Episode: "Look Again"
2004 Law & Order Alison Bishop Episode: "Married with Children"
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Jeannette Henley Episode: "Scavenger"
2011 Homeland Isabel Samler Episode: "Marine One"
2012 Grey's Anatomy Emma Carroll Episode: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1982 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All for You Nominated
1983 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Brighton Beach Memoirs Nominated
1990 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in a Children's Special ABC Afterschool Special Nominated
1999 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Actress in a Play Death of a Salesman Nominated
1999 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Death of a Salesman Won
2000 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Death of a Salesman Nominated
2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Death of a Salesman Nominated
2002 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Morning's at Seven Nominated
2002 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Morning's at Seven Nominated


  • Isherwood, Charles (November 19, 2007). "In a Quiet Suburb, a Quiet Life Darkened". The New York Times

External links[edit]